The captain of a vessel which called at Norfolk Island as lately as September, 1859, has thus described his visit, in the Hobart Town Daily Mercury, December 12th, 1859:—
"In the month of September, 1859, I visited Norfolk Island (the present home of the Pitcairn Islanders), to recruit my vessel. It was their Sabbath, and I well knew that they would transact no business on that day. I went on shore, however, in the morning. On approaching the beach, I found several of my former acquaintances assembled to give me a hearty welcome. No sooner did the boat touch the ground, than she was carried clear of danger by my own crew, and the parties on the beach. The kind and affectionate manner in which these trusting people welcomed me cannot be expressed in words. After placing our boat in safety, we were escorted by them from the Cascades to the settlement, where every hospitality was shown both to myself and my men.
"It being the Sabbath, I did not encroach on their time; but on the following day the Pitcairn Islanders of both sexes, children included, came to give us a hearty English welcome, and to minister to our immediate wants; nor did their kindness and attention cease until I left. It coming on to blow, my vessel was compelled to get under weigh and stand out to sea, leaving me on the island, and I was thus enabled to learn from them their immediate wants, their form of government, and such like. Their mode of government is extremely simple, and as effective as it is simple. A magistrate and two councillors are elected annually. If any dispute arises, it is referred to these, and their decision is presumed to be binding. If, however, that decision is not satisfactory, a reference is made to the captain of the first British man-of-war touching at the island; and from his decision there is no appeal. These disputes, however, never create any angry feeling between the parties; they live on as friendly as ever. The magistrates have very little difficulty in rectifying all differences as they arise.
"During my stay, I conversed with the greatest part of the community. Crime of any kind, theft, swearing, falsehood, immorality, are unknown on the island. Although devout in their religious services and observances, they are, at the same time, cheerful and buoyant in spirits, neither knowing wrong themselves, nor dreading wrong from others."
It is gratifying to observe the religious, moral, and amiable traits of character, which were so attractive at Pitcairn, still marking the conduct and manners of the people in their new and more amply furnished home. But it will be evident to every thoughtful reader, that they are beset with trials of various kinds, especially those which are incident to increased responsibility, and extended possessions; and that, like their brethren here, and everywhere, they will have daily need of divine grace, to prevent them from falling, and to enable them to keep themselves unspotted from the world.